Launch a Successful Social Media Campaign in 5 Just Weeks 3

See week 1 here.

See week 2 here.


Now that you’ve built up knowledge within your area of expertise and hopefully have a system for reviewing, interacting with and sharing content, it’s time to plan what niche you can own within the online space.

Ensuring you carve out an area of expertise you can own allows you to:

  • Better meet the demands of your audience
  • Focus your offering
  • Ensure your rankings for organic search traffic

For example a financial institution may look at focussing on a niche that isn’t traditionally considered by banks…. Yes it’s Redneck bank! It’s real, hilarious and gosh-darn it – it just might work. The long tail that digital has created by increasing the capacity to publish is well documented and it’s important to understand in order to achieve successful differentiation.

redneck bank

There’s a straight-forward process that ensures you truly focus on your niche, and also helps you develop your rankings in search engines over time.

8 hours initially: define your niche

4 hours: competitor analysis

2 hours: search research

3 hours: keyword segmentation

Define your niche

A bit of brainstorming will go a long way but don’t get too bogged down in hitting the nail on the head at this stage. Online has changed the way we work in that you can be more tactical. Put something out there, see how people react to it and revise if you have to based on the success of what you’ve produced. At this stage it’s important that you just get started and build momentum. Ask yourself a couple of key questions…

What business gaps are there in your vertical?

If you were in your consumer’s shoes what would you wish for that currently doesn’t exist?

Do some lateral thinking and come up with an offering that makes sense yet has an edge. The main thing is not to dwell here. You should be able to narrow down an area you can own online over other people within your category.

Competitor analysis

Once you’ve got a couple of ideas together start looking at what competitors are doing especially within search rankings. Who’s ranking high in your search terms? Why? Is there much competition? What are competitors doing that you can use to your advantage?

To carve out a niche in your sector you want to be sure you can rank well in Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs) as organic search will be a key strategy in drawing like-minded people to you.

Search research

Once you’re happy with the niche you’ve identified. Use a Google keyword research tool to expand your 5-10 search terms. Google’s tool will give you an idea of different terms that relate to the terms you investigate. The tool will also give you an idea of the search volume and competition. The data is based on paid search but there’s no reason you can’t apply the learnings to your organic search.

Keyword segmentation

Once you’ve got a list export them to a .csv file and begin to tier the list into importance of words. When producing content you’ll have a bible of words to refer to which will ensure you carve your niche.

In the next week you’ll begin to expand a list of keywords into content people you’re targeting will want to read.


Launch a Successful Social Media Campaign in 5 Just Weeks 2

Week 2 – Learn what people react to

See week 1 here.

article 2 - 1

To run a successful social media campaign you need to know what makes your target audience tick.

There’s nothing like ongoing market research to gain an insightful understanding of your future community. By commenting and responding on blogs, YouTube videos, micro-blogs, LinkedIn topics/questions, Q&A Sites and other social media platforms you not only learn what makes people in your category tick, it also begins to build up valuable relationships with your target market and positions you as an expert in you field.

Time required

Half hour a day: having conversations.

8 hours initially, 1 hour a week ongoing: audit what’s successful.


Ah, the fine art of commenting… how to be controversial enough to illicit a response without completely alienating yourself from the people you’re trying to connect with. See Jason Falls article in Social Media Explorer for more on the fine line between pissing people off and becoming their friend.

Most of the opportunities for commenting will come out of your daily scan of media. The RSS Feeds you created in Week 1 will ensure you find out about any relevant Blog, micro-blog or Q&A posts so you can engage real time.

Identifying good content

Audit what’s successful, look at sites like digg, reddit, Twitter, YouTube,, StumbleUpon etc and find the most popular content.

Content is the key, whether you’re creating it, trying to get others to pass it on or trying to get others to create it, you need to understand what makes one piece of content successful and another a failure.

Take the time to review and compare the content. Most of the sites have broad categories their content fits into allowing you to scan what’s more relevant to your category.

Have an opinion on what makes the top ranking content popular. This time will also give you a good opportunity to join in on the conversation.

The next article in the series will show you how to identify and continually focus on your niche.

Launch a Successful Social Media Campaign in 5 Just Weeks

Can string imageIt will soon be a fundamental business practice for every company to have a social media presence, just as it now essential for a company to have a website.

The main shift in the web 2.0 era has been that consumers have moved from digesting content to publishing it themselves, which moved the power away from the corporate and placed it firmly with the masses.

Consumers now have the ability to send brand reputation plummeting with one YouTube video (see Dominos’ response video below), it’s important now more than ever that companies plan for the worst and keeping an ear close to the ground.

The great news is there is a cavalcade of free tools to choose from to create a successful social media campaign and this article series will show you to start in just 5 weeks. Unlike traditional media where you pretty much get one chance to launch a campaign, social media is about refining and growing over time.

Week 1 – Become an expert

The first step is to become an expert of you category and gain an understanding of what’s important in your space.

Time invested

Set up: 2 hours

Ongoing: 1 hour per day

1. Create a Google Reader account. Google Reader will syndicate content from around the web making you a focussed, time-efficient, learning machine.

2. Find appropriate blogs within your category through a search engine. Don’t stress about their quality initially, you should be refining these continually as you continue to read them.

3. Use a free social media monitoring service to send targeted feeds to your Reader account. Social Mention is one of the most powerful free social monitoring sites.

nike search.jpeg

Simply type your or your competitor’s band name into the search bar and choose between the publishing types in the top hand nav to get a result.

nike search result.jpeg

To continue getting updates in real-time use the RSS Feed in the top right hand side of the page. You’ll now be able to monitor you search results straight from Google Reader.

From then on spend around an hour a day monitoring Google Reader. You’ll soon find how Einstein’s learning curve can apply directly to you as you rapidly become an expert on your field of interest.

In the coming articles you’ll learn to monitor what content people react to, create a campaign strategy and launch your social media campaign in 4 short weeks.



See part 1, Who does wins HERE.

Bottoms up  

Building product innovation on a solid structure of insights can most effectively be done using a bottom-up approach. Utalising the CEO’s boss, the consumer feedback and insight gained from people buying the product feed up through an organisation and lead decision-making. 

It’s important for companies to take in more information from the people who matter most, the end consumer.

Listening and discussing has become low-hanging fruit, it takes a small amount of time daily, anyone within the company can do it and the potential rewards are enormous. Companies not investing a small amount of time daily to reap the rewards of the information available are simple lazy.

Weather in the form of data analysis, CRM programs social networking or any other number of means, companies need to listen and prove to their consumers that they are listening. The companies and individuals who use their ears in proportion to their mouth will rise to the top.

This new business model is being embraced by some of the world’s biggest companies, including WPP (world’s second biggest communications conglomerate). Sir Martin Sorrell (WW CEO) covered the global refocus on digital and ROI WPP was undertaking, businessweek recently reported

The gold is there to be taken

The great news is anyone can build an extremely powerful arsenal of insights by utilizing information and tools, which are all in existence now. Better yet, most of them provide their data for free. Creating a granular understanding of your value segment is easier than it has ever been.

Previously expensive insight tools have now become commodities. And insights are available that never have been previously.

Anyone not leveraging the tools made freely available to them will fall short to competitors.   

It’s a process

Gaining truly valuable insights into a business doesn’t happen over night, it also shouldn’t fall on the shoulders of one person in an organization.

As there is such a vast amount of information to sort through it’s best to create a team with varying responsibilities, opinions and skill sets that can each monitor and be responsible for researching a portion of data.

This can then be pulled together for the larger company group via free tools such as Google Sites  or a company wiki such as Socialtext*.

In the next part of the series we’ll begin looking at the different forms of insights we can gain which will move us into the practical how to sections.

*This article series won’t go into the intricacies of managing the insight through the company, only where and how to get the insights. 

Insights series: PART 1 WHO DOES WINS

The green fields

There is now an abundant amount of consumer information available to us for free online in the form of articles, discussions, votes, searches, analytics, blog posts, communities, micro-blog posts etc etc.




When  collated, unravelled and utilized correctly this data forms the solid foundation upon which insightful product innovation can be built. 

Anyone reliant on creativity as a means for differentiation can benefit  from the insights to be gained from the information freely available to anyone with internet access.       

This is part 1 of a 10 part series where I’ll talk through the potential, strategy, tools and implementation of data available online and more importantly how to practically use the tools to distil the data into sound insights. 

The first 3 posts will discuss the importance of insights and the broad structural map. The following posts will be a how to guide on extracting insight gold from the information available to us.

Ignore it and lose  

The Blogosphere has been abuzz with discussion of a need for increased focus on accountability for some time now. More so as of late thanks to the current economic climate .

Discussion has also focussed heavily on the importance of innovation to ensure success in a recession.

Accountability becomes a given when innovation is born out of a solid strategy made up of insightful information. Furthermore, when the product is consistently tested, revised and refined.  

It’s important to understand that the insight goes far beyond product launch. Products should constantly be in a state of Beta.

When discussing Silicon Valley start-ups in Reality Check, Guy Kawasaki discussed the importance of launch, test, revise, test, revise, test, you get the idea.

This is fundamentally important to success. Don’t expect to get it right off the bat… expect that you’ll need to revise whatever you put out there. In the process you’ll show people that you listen to their needs and in turn gain more of their trust.

The next post will discuss the importance of the low-hanging fruit and touch on the insight process. 

See part 2 HERE

What Facebook’s doing about all the money it’s not making


Facebook recently broke the 150 million user mark but has been mainly focussed on growing in size rather than generating revenue
Though the popular social media site has tried various ways to generate revenue, they haven’t landed on a monster revenue gainer as Google did with paid search. Rather, Facebook have mainly dabbled with banner displays which traditionally yield appalling CTRs
Facebook have begun overcoming their CTR issue by using engagement ads which leverage user behavior over previous poor-performance banner ads. But this is still a far cry from Facebook’s potential.   
They now plan on leveraging their vast number of users in order to allow companies real-time, granular polling. 
Recently at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland Facebook launched it’s polls feature which allows companies to poll users real time. Targeting users based on their demographics and behavior, the polls are designed to gain instant feedback from a specific segment on product development, campaigns and brand sentiment etc etc. 

If you ask me this is a great move for Facebook. Considering most company’s spend on marketing will be less over the next couple of years due to the global economic crisis and the demand for accountability will be larger, companies will demand this insight every time they need to decide… well, anything. 

The main issue will be ensuring privacy is managed correctly by Facebook. One way to do this would be to ensure users opt into the program.  

The new product reminds me of some of the existing “cash for you time” research and seeding services that currently exist such as pureprofile. Offering an incentive to people would certainly ensure a greater acceptance from Facebook’s masses. Given their increasing rise in popularity virtual gifts may be the perfect way for Facebook to ensure incentives without having to forgo any of their revenue.  

45 cloudware tools to save business time & money

Save time, increase capacity to do work and ultimately save money… why wouldn’t people jump at the opportunity? I think in most instances the problem lies in not being aware of the tools or their capabilities.
No doubt many of you are utilising the cloudware listed below, but it amazes me how many companies haven’t adapted these powerful and often free tools.
One of my professional NY resolutions is to educate more people about the below to help them in their day-to-day business… let’s spread the cloudware word!
Google docs create/share word/ppoin/excel documents
Open office office suite
Flow chart viseo alternative
Widgenie create interactive charts 
Etherpad edit word document in real time
Textflow edit word document in real time
Zoho full office suite 
Zotero bibliography
Easybib bibliography
Memiary diary
Whizle create/share presentations
280 Slides create/share presentations
Preezo create/share presentations
Prezentit create/share presentations
Empressr create/share presentations
Business/ project management
Plan HQ business plan implementation
Enleiten task/project management
Projectthingy task/project management
Basecamp task/project management
37 Signals task/project management
Eproject task/project management
Joint Contract task/project management
Liquid Planner task/project management
Timetoast interactive timelines
Financial managment
File storage/sharing
Photshop alternatives
Userfly usability reporting
Snappages easy site development
Rackspace hosting
Zunavision embed images into video